New Faces at SA: David Hyde


Lily Gelb, Staff Writer

David Hyde began teaching Humanities II at Sonoma Academy in the Fall of 2021. During the Spring 2022 semester, he is continuing to teach Sophomore Humanities as well as an Archaeology elective.

Hyde received his PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, specializing in historical archaeology which, he says, is “archeology that also uses written documents,” and went on his first excavation in 2009. He didn’t realize his interest in education until graduate school. Specifically, he says, a summer job leading bike tours in Italy sparked his interest in teaching when he realized part of the job involved educating people about local sites and history, and he taught classes on archaeology and history throughout graduate school.

Describing his interest in archaeology, which Hyde says began when he was young, he says, “There is something about the mystery and experience of going looking for the past in a very physical way and pulling something out of the ground and realizing that you might be the first person that has seen or touched that thing in a couple hundred, if not thousand years.” Hyde has always been passionate about the past and likes archaeology because “it can add to the conversations that are being had today.”

As his career progressed and he began to focus more on education, Hyde says that he began to view archaeology as an “avenue to ask really interesting questions about the past…I think it provides a unique perspective on the past that speaks directly to the present as well; it humanizes the past in really interesting ways.”

Hyde explained that his approach to the Humanities II essential question, “How do ideas shape culture,” is to examine the relationship between “self and other.” He used the case studies of the European Renaissance, the colonial period in the Americas, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution throughout the Fall, and in the Spring semester his students will explore the rise of Nationalism in Germany, the lasting conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the philosophies of Indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Although Hyde was not interested in teaching as a profession until graduate school, he was instantly drawn to SA’s “really holistic approach to engaging teenagers in productive ways.” Hyde says that he was pleasantly surprised to experience Sonoma Academy’s mission and values “actualized.” He has enjoyed getting to know the community of SA staffulty and students, and has felt supported, encouraged, and welcomed during his first year. “You guys as a student body are just so full of energy, and enthusiasm, and your willingness to help others, to build that sense of community is nothing short of inspiring and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”